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08/02/2015 15:12
Real clash of titans coming up in Kazan with Dinamo and VakifBank going for remake of last year’s final match
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Kazan, Russia, February 8, 2015. Dinamo KAZAN and VakifBank ISTANBUL crossed their ways in March 2014 in the last, final stage of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League with the Tatars eventually emerging victorious to claim Russia’s first title in Europe’s elite competition. Last year the Tatars looked almost unstoppable and they easily routed VakifBank in three sets (25-23, 25-11, 25-23) in the final played at Crystal Hall in Baku (see picture). This season these teams are playing each other already in the Playoffs 12 and their clash coming up on Tuesday is definitely the most anticipated among those scheduled for this week as the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League resumes with the start of the knock-out phase.

After some key players left the team during the summer break, Dinamo KAZAN has struggled to display the same form and consistency they had shown last year. They started their campaign by dissipating a 2:0 lead to eventually lose at the tie-break the away match with Rabita BAKU but then went on to claim their home match with Poland’s rookies Chemik POLICE. “There are many new players in the team and therefore it takes time to develop the right chemistry and team work,” said head coach Rishat Gilyazutdinov at the beginning of the 2014/2015 season. Dinamo got back on track as the season progressed and they displayed their finest form in the home match with Rabita played in January. Their loss to Agel PROSTEJOV in the last round of the pool phase came only after the Russians had already secured their second place in Pool A and with this also a ticket to the Playoffs, so that performance does not really mirror the current status of the team.

VakifBank, on the other hand, have played with more consistency so far even though they also had to concede a home defeat to France’s RC CANNES which upset many of the fans following the Turkish giants. However, they immediately made up for this setback, as they went on to score a 3:0 win once the re-match was played on the French Riviera. VakifBank then won their home match with Italy’s champions Nordmeccanica PIACENZA only at the tie-break – which ended in a dramatic 21-19 – and following their away victory over Partizan Vizura BEOGRAD, the Turks could finish the prelims atop the charts of Pool E on 14 points. The Drawing of Lots that followed paired them up with last year’s gold medallists Dinamo KAZAN for a much anticipated remake of the 2014 final match.

Dinamo have had to cope with the very tight schedule of the Russian Superleague and with some long journeys, so their preparations for the match with VakifBank were not optimal. Still their mentor Rishat Gilyazutdinov says: “Things have been going quite well. We have been paying special attention to our physical, tactical and technical preparations for this big match. We hope that we will be in good shape for this important game with VakifBank.”

The General Manager of Dinamo, Sergey Chernyshev, adds: “I think that VakifBank was not that happy to be drawn to play us in the Playoffs 12. And certainly any team would be quite careful in playing us, since we are the reigning European and world champions, though we are missing Jordan Larson-Burbach in comparison with the roster we had last year. However, for the remaining five positions on the court, I believe that we got stronger than ever. I am confident that we can be a good match for VakifBank and of course such game is going to attract a lot of fans, so we are ready to provide our Turkish opponent with a warm welcome.”

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